In 2015, pioneering Beverly Hills AIDS doctor Dr. Eugene (Gene) Rogolsky donated his collection of more than 700 works to the USC Fisher Museum of Art.
The doctor’s collection is a complex, unorthodox and introspective one, where photographs, prints, paintings and sculptures range from sacred to profane, local to international, cerebral to prurient. Present in the collection are Czech artists Jiří Anderle, Jan Saudek, and Josef Sudek as well as photographers Laura Aguilar, Herb Ritts, and Graciela Iturbide. Rogolsky’s collection also includes many local Los Angeles artists including Elsa Flores, Dan McCleary, and Robert Gil de Montes. Rogolsky’s close friendship with influential Chicago gallerist Anne Baruch and with L.A.-based artist, curator and educator Henry Klein also gave him entrée to works done by printmakers and photographers from Eastern Europe such as Jindřich Štreit, Jindra Viková, Oldřich Kulhánek, and František Drtikol.
While the collecting pattern is mostly a single work per artist, there are some who make their mark in the collection by virtue of a wider range of examples — famed Chicano artist Carlos Almaraz, for example, with 55 works.
The collection mirrors the personal and professional relationships Rogolsky developed over time, as well as the sociocultural ambiance that prevailed in the 1980s when he was most actively engaged in collecting. Tim Wride, the curator of Fisher’s 2016 exhibition honoring this enormously important donation, A Generosity of Spirit, wrote that the Rogolsky Collection “is populated by works done by artists who were patients, patients who were friends, and friends who became legends.”
Our friend and patron Dr. Gene Rogolsky passed away in September of 2020.